Administering the liquid part of blood, known as convalescent plasma, was found to speed up the recovery process in COVID-19 sufferers, researchers claim. The study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed or scrutinised by fellow scientists, saw people under the age of 60 who had tested positive were among those who benefitted the most.
Researchers claimed their symptoms dramatically reduced and the virus was found to have cleared within a week of the injections.
When it was injected into patients over 60, the study suggested it had slower effects.
The therapy took between 10 and 30 days to kick-in.
Plasma is rich in antibodies which are used by the immune system to neutralise pathogens.
The study saw researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland focus on 10 studies on the therapy.
A total of 61 coronavirus patients took part in the trials.
They were spread across China, South Korea and the United States.
The patients ranged in age from 19 to 100.
READ MORE: How can you give plasma?
The researchers added: “First randomized clinical trial results, however, revealed no improvements in recovery time for elderly patients with severe COVID-19 between standard treatment alone and added with convalescent plasma.
“Accordingly, we argue that older patients may need a significantly longer time for recovery. Further randomized clinical trial data for COVID-19 with rigorous ethical standards is urgently needed.”
To be eligible to donate plasma for such studies, a person must have tested positive for coronavirus either at home or in hospital.
But they should already be at least three weeks into their recovery from the virus.
The latest study could present a promising outlook for the thousands of COVID-19 patients in the UK.
As of Tuesday, a total of 287,399 people in the UK had been diagnosed with the disease.
A similar treatment was used to treat patients during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
The deadliest pandemic in history, it saw an estimated 500 million people infected worldwide.
And up to 50 million of these succumbed to the influenza.
A trial underway at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London includes plasma therapy for coronavirus patients.